Missouri TBF’s Second State Qualifier is a Success
After dealing with a 2-month weather delay the Missouri TBF held its second state qualifier at Truman Lake on August 10th and 11th. The lake had receded from its near record crest in June to a more fishable level of about 12 feet over normal pool. The good news is that the flooded bushes and trees along with the steady current had the fish feeding aggressively for most of the day. Several anglers were able to read the current and figure the proper points and ledges that positioned the fish to find strong limits each day.
The weather conditions for the 2-day event was fortunately not as hot as usual but with plenty of good ole Missouri summer humidity. Temperatures on Saturday started at 72 degrees and peaked at 91 under bright skies with SSE winds at 5-7 mph. Sunday was a variable day with clouds and a few showers. Temperatures started out at 78 degrees and hit 89 later in the day with winds shifting from the West at 6 mph to the East at 9 by weigh-in. Anglers who could adjust their bait color and presentation to the wind and cloud conditions were able to keep the bite going all day while other anglers complained about an “on and off” bite throughout the day.
Leading the pack on the boater side was Jeff Barrickman from Crane, Missouri. While primarily fishing his local Table Rock, his modest familiarity with Truman did not hold him back as he had strong 5 fish limits each day. He led the field Saturday with 5 fish for 18.82 and followed that up with a Sunday sack of 16.89 for a total two-day weight of 35.71. This is even more impressive when you consider that we were fishing under Missouri’s no-cull rules, which resulted in Jeff finishing each day by earlier morning. Jeff capitalized on the current and used Texas rigged plastics to find concentrations of fish on key current swept points on the main lake.
Kenny Shinn lead the “local” anglers with a very strong two-day total of 32.26 pounds for second place. Kenny had a very steady approach to the tournament catching several keepers each day for 15.4 pounds on day one and 16.86 on day two. He concentrated on the shallow bush bite using a buzzbait early and a jig and wobble head later in the day. His bite was mostly on the main lake area with a few fish coming up the Grand River arm.
Finishing just behind Kenny was another Truman Lake expert (and Ranger Cup winner), Don Heiser with 31.12 pounds. Like the other two leaders, Don had strong 5 fish limit each day of 17.21 and 13.91 respectively. Don also concentrated on the main lake and Grand River arm probing brushy points primarily with a Carolina rig. Like all our top three anglers, Don proved to be a generous guide, helping each of his co-anglers to 5 fish limits each day too!
Rounding out the top boater spots was Robert Hime (our Table Rock Lake Champion) with 28.81 pounds, Dennis Maggart with 27.52, Tom Kauffmann with 26.96 and Tom McGovern with 25.47. Overall 113 fish were caught for 342.19 pounds by 30 anglers!
The Co-Angler side was dominated by some very familiar faces. Taking first place with two very impressive bags was one of our strongest co-anglers, Gary Martin. He sacked 16.93 pounds on day one and then followed that up with an even bigger sack of 17.58 on day 2 for a total of 34.51 pounds. Gary drug a Carolina Rigged brush hog (in his secret color) along with a DH Shaky Head to catch most of his fish. Gary is used to the winner stand with consistent top 5 finishes including his 2nd place finish this spring in the MO TBF Qualifier at Table Rock.
Finishing second was our Table Rock co-angler champion, Jason Morisaki. Jason also had an early 5 fish limit each day with 15.46 and 10.34 for grand total of 25.8 pounds. While he caught multiple keepers each day, he was not able to cull up significantly after his initial 5. Most of his fish came on a Texas rigged green pumpkin brush hog but a couple fell to a Carolina rig, dragging a hump with a green pumpkin creature bait. He had to make a bit of adjustment on day two as his boater concentrated on secondary points, so he supplemented the Texas rigged brush hog with a mag finesse worm on a shaky head proved just as effective for his early limit.
Our final winner was also a regular on the podium, Jon Small. Jon is very familiar with Truman and was able to overcome a slow start on Saturday (7.91 pounds) to finish strong with 13.71 on Sunday for a two-day total of 21.62. He caught most of his fish by pitching a 10-inch June Bug worm to bushes or dragging a shaky head on points.
Since both of our top co-anglers had already qualified for the TBF National Semi-Final our 4th place co-angler Grant Hinton (21.19 pounds) and 5th place John Williamson (15.35) both secured a place on the Missouri State team!
With these weights it was no surprise that several big bass were brought to the stage each day. On the boater side Saturday saw multiple 4 pounders weighed and 4 over 5, the largest being Greg Lampton’s 5.92. To prove that it was not a fluke, Greg followed that up with the day 2 big bass on the boater side of 5.59! Both bass came off the same point in about 10 feet of water and fell to brush hog on a wobble head (secret color). The big bass on the co-angler side on day one went to Jason Morisaki with a 5.4-pound toad that bit on a brush hog on a main lake point near a deep channel. Day two co-angler big bass (5.11 pounds) went to our overall winner Gary Martin who caught it early on a brush hog.
The MO TBF Board would like to thank all the participants for the patience and support this year. The high water made for a scheduling challenge and we appreciate everyone’s understanding and cooperation. It has been a great year for the Missouri TBF with significant growth in clubs and individual membership. We simply could not succeed without the help of our membership and the great attitude. The State Team and Club Champions will now be preparing for the TBF National Semi-Final September 21st and 22nd at Wilson Lake. We have an exceptionally strong team this year and I am sure we are going to be able to return the favor to the Kansas TBF and bring the District 7 crown back to Missouri.